By Gina Ferrari, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation’s Director of Grants
Looking back at 2019, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation are once again in awe of the incredible creative contributions of our grantees and the entire arts & culture community in Denver. As patrons, participants, makers and audience members, we have access to a truly vibrant, diverse and robust arts and culture scene.
The artistic vision and dedication of all those involved have made Denver such an extraordinary cultural hub. The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation is honored to play a small role in supporting a growing diversity of organizations and projects.
Here’s a brief look at the breadth of our support – along with some of our newer grantees and major projects from 2019:
We recognize that the definition of art can mean something different for each of us. Artists and organizations are experimenting with new formats, new venues and are embracing collaboration and cross-discipline work that break down barriers and engage us at our own level. Denver Digerati continues to showcase the innovations of digital art and animation. Denver is fortunate to be the host city for the free multi-day festival, Supernova.
Rainbow Militia made headlines with their immersive performance Zabiti that incorporates circus arts, original narrative, live music, and elaborate set designs. Another first year of support for us was CRUSHWALLS, a week-long celebration of street and graffiti art and artists, that left us with incredible works that can still be enjoyed throughout the RiNo area.
The Foundation continued to look for opportunities to ensure that cultural offerings representing Denver’s diverse communities are supported, and that there are ample ways to engage in critical dialogue around today’s pressing issues. No Credit Productions and KGNU presented the unique, and compelling Destination Freedom: Black Radio Days series. These live radio performances combine narrative, theatre, music and discussion around social justice.
The third year of Arts in Society (administered by RedLine) was, of course, our primary vehicle for supporting important cross sector work through the arts. In 2019, twenty-four Colorado organizations and artists were awarded grants totaling $500,000. We are thrilled that our partnership with funders Hemera Foundation and CCI has expanded in 2020 to include CO Health Foundation and SCFD (and in 2021 will further expand to include Denver Arts & Venues!)
Our support of music is significant and broad, and 2019 was no exception. From classical to contemporary, Latin to Bluegrass, our grantees presented an extraordinary diversity of music genres in traditional and unexpected venues. And the same can be said about dance: from classical ballet to modern to vernacular. In 2019 both Wonderbound and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance launched campaigns to support their facilities. The Foundation was pleased to award leadership gifts for both of these community-centered projects.
The visual arts and film are abundant and accessible, and many of our grantees are receiving critical acclaim for their vision, curation and contributions to the field. The Foundation has also had a long history of supporting local theatre companies that inspire us, challenge us, make us laugh and make us cry. The Foundation’s support of dedicated literary arts projects is fairly recent (including Lighthouse Writers Workshop), but storytelling is integral to so many of our long-standing grantees.
In addition to individual organizations, the Foundation supported several key initiatives in 2019 that address field issues: equitable access to music education, cultural journalism, performance space, and building a pipeline of diverse arts administrators. We are excited to see how our investments in more field work/systemic change can have greater impact.
Thank you to all of our grantees, our partners, for an extraordinary 2019. We wish you continued success in 2020.
You can find a complete listing of all our grantees here with links to their websites.